I was born dead, dead and dying as I fell from the sack of the womb dripping filth.
The doctor put me down and tried to kill me but my mother stopped him, reaching up from the stirrups and clawing at the doctor’s face as he held the anesthesia mask over my mouth. Whatever red madness possessed him was gone in a moment and his rage subsided. I was alive.
When I was three I was gripped by a terrible fever, pulled across the world and near to death’s door by an incipient grief of future tragedies. I lay at my mother’s side for four days while my eyes remained cold and hot, focused on phantoms that lay beyond my years. After I awoke from this delirium my mother would forever regard me as a stranger.
I was in the living room when the towers fell. I remember seeing the smoke and ashes, thinking to myself that nothing would ever be the same again. Somehow I knew in my heart that what was happening across the world was just a taste, just a foreshadowing of something big and dangerous, something that would rise up and destroy us all. I wanted to know, I wanted to understand what it was, I needed to know that it wasn’t just me, that it wasn’t my fault. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to satisfy myself on this point. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite comfortable with myself since.
My mother came up behind me and together we watched the footage on the television screen as it unfolded. The TV was on mute and the only sound we heard was the dog barking outside. She set her hand on my shoulder and for a moment we were apart, together.